WHO Model List of Essential Medicines

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The WHO Model List of Essential Medications is a list created by the World Health Organization ((WHO) of the most effective and safe medications for any given health care system. More than 150 countries have created their own national essential medication lists based on the WHO list.

The List

The list was first published in 1977 and was last updated in 2016. The list as it stands is surprisingly short:

  1. Ativan[1]
  2. Coffee[2][3][4]
  3. Dilaudid[5]
  4. Enemas[6]
  6. Haldol[7]
  7. Laughter[8]
  8. Placebo
  9. Sodium bicarbonate[9]


  1. FDA Finally Approves The Ativan Diffuser for All Hospital Units
  2. The Joint Commission Now Encourages Coffee At Nursing Stations, Mortality Rates Plummet
  3. Amazing Respiratory Therapist Performs ABG with One Hand, Drinks Coffee with Other
  4. Crisis Brewing as Unit 61’s Coffee Machine Broken
  5. Spock: “Patient’s Demands for Dilaudid Highly Illogical”
  6. Updated 2016 Code Constipation Algorithm
  7. Haldol Blowdart Halted in Phase 3 Clinical Trial Due to “Safety Concerns”
  8. Breaking: Ativan is the Best Medicine, Laughter Falls to Sixth
  9. ICU Team Figures Out What Their Code Needs: More Bicarb!

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